brewers baseball and things

a christmas wish in june

10 Comments

One of my only requests in life is that food and housing are free and to get rid of loud-mouthed critics who find fault with even the sun and golden retrievers and as long as I’m at it, could we, as in you, the great creator, the grand poobah, the ballybushka, the one and only, the he-she-it who mixes genes, blood, and bones to make babies …. could you create an ageless boy wonder and put him on the Miller Park pitcher’s mound?

(now i’m cowering out of fear for being too greedy) but just one more thing, could you have him skunk the St. Louis Cardinals, just once? I promise to never ask another thing again. (fingers crossed behind my back) I’ll treat that one spanking or skunking like it was game 7 of the inter-galactic championship and those unbeatable punks from Mars lost their edge and were taken down.

Meanwhile, back in reality, I could probably comb through regular season reels, from the Brewers National League inception in 1998 to a futuristic doomsday and I might never see a more masterful pitching performance by a Brewer’s pitcher against the Cardinals than i did yesterday afternoon, June 1, 2016.

Zach Davies may not wear a cape with an R on the front, but he has the most boyish look of anyone I’ve ever seen since ummm, Brewers manager Craig Counsell? Davies was born February 7, 1993. That makes him 23. He was drafted by the Orioles in 2011, traded to the Brewers for Gerardo Parra in 2015, on July 31 to be exact. Counsell was the manager at the time. He saw something.

Davies only pitched 34 innings last year. Only allowed 26 hits too, 2 home runs, good enough for Counsell to say, Howdy partner. Hop on the saddle. You’s in the rotation. He was roughed up a bit early on this year, but misleading roughed up. Didn’t Mark Twain say statistics lie? Anyway, yeh, Davies suffered a few bad bounces, seeing eye singles and one mistake pitches, a bloated ERA.

He may look young but he’s composed. It’s his ability to touch all corners of the strike zone, saw off batters on the inside and fade away to the outside and most importantly, he keeps the ball LOW, VERY LOW, ALWAYS LOW, nothing but the LOW, so help him wind.

He’s not overpowering, never tops 92 MPH. He’s a lot like my previous favorite Brewers pitcher – Marco Estrada who was the partial inspiration of two stories in Dreaming .400  – the character Moonsher in ‘Ship Not Sinking’ and Jimmy Durgendoff in ‘Durgy’s Home Stand.’ Both fictional pitchers, like Estrada and Davies, do not rely on heat. They can’t. They don’t have heat, so they use trickery and deception. The change-up is their deadly weapon.

No Cardinal reached second base yesterday, not with Davies on the mound…a 5’9″ 155 pound bouncer. He only allowed three hits over eight innings, three puny singles, struck out NINE Cardinals too, had them flailing all day at low change ups and what makes it even more impressive is how hot the Cardinals were coming into the game. In their previous five games, they had scored 33 RUNS and banged out 51 HITS.

Davies went over the 100 pitch mark in the 8th inning so Jeremy Jeffress came on in the ninth, served up a pinch hit home run and that’s fine. Sometime the best pitching performances don’t wind up being perfect games, no-hitters, 20 strikeout performances, or even shutouts. They go almost unnoticed and that’s fine, almost preferable.

 

 

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Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

10 thoughts on “a christmas wish in june

  1. I think “Ship Not Sinking” may be my favorite item in the collection, the notion of the one who didn’t go away, but I reserve the right to think otherwise at some point.

    • That’s music to my mind wk! Thanks for saying so. I think you’re the first to mention “Ship Not Sinking” and originally, it was going to be the lead-off story because it was my favorite too, that Moonsher in from the mist and then back out, but always on the brink of a return. I used my own right and bumped it down the batting order a bit, but still a favorite, definitely.

      • When did you start hating the Cardinals? 1982 World Series? Also, were the Cardinals and Milwaukee Braves big rivals?

        Glen

      • I don’t really hate the Cardinals, more kicks and giggles, NL Central rivals and what not. Even in 2011 when Tony “Father Guido Sarducci” La Russa complained about the lighting at Miller Park, saying it was darker when the Cardinals were batting and therefore harder to hit. Well, Tony does have a law degree. I don’t think he ever practiced law, but then again he kind of did, on the diamond, with umpires anyway. But I grew up a big La Russa fan since he managed the White Sox and my favorite player and you’re probably tired of hearing about him Glen was Harold Baines. Reporters called him the most boring interview ever. My teachers in grade school called him fish face. Heck if I cared. That was Harold Baines, my hero and La Russa penned him into the lineup every day in right field so god bless La Russa

        I actually liked the 1982 Cardinals. I mean don’t forget Glen, that was way before inter-league play so the Cardinals or any national league team were like extra terrestrials to me as a Brewers fan in the big bad AL East. That National League was like proper English grammar and what not, the original and pure national league, manufacturing supreme blah blah blah. Whatever, I grew to love the difference. But those 82 Cardinals were very interesting. I think we’ve talked about this before. Willie McGee, what a legend, his mannerisms and play on the field and don’t forget the Cardinals had former Brewers catcher Darrel Porter and doubly don’t forget, the big huge massive trade between the Cardinals and Brewers in December of 1980…Fingers and Vuckovich and Simmons to Milwaukee in exchange for Greene, LaPointe, Lezcano and Sorenson, the biggest trade in Brewers history and an amazing scratch my back-your back beautiful in that the two teams met in the Suds Series. Too bad Fingers was injured, but no excuses.

        What sometimes added to the fun of the soft core rivalry that really didn’t emerge until the Brewers joined the NL Central in the late 1990’s was Red Schoendienst. This will hopefully address your second question. As you may or may not know, Schoendienst joined the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 which remains the only year a Milwaukee major league team won a world series.

        Cardinals cable tv announcers Al Hrabosky and i forget the other one, love to point out how spark plug Schoendienst provided the Braves that extra edge. They go as far as saying that without his Cardinal experience of success the Braves might not have won which is kind of strange since the Cardinals didn’t do shit when Schoendienst was on the team or they did OK. Yeh, they won the 1946 WS, but that was it or OK, they had a winning record for a few more years, but the under tow from Cardinal announcers is that Milwaukee is what the Yankee’s Casey Stengel called “bushville,” but that’s fuel baby. That’s why I love the Yankees and Cardinals and why we should maybe thank our enemies…because they inspire us to fight a little harder.

  2. Which brings up another kind of “scratch your back-I’ll scratch yours” kind of thing, and that was Yankee Tony Kubek, who was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Wisconsin. I’ll bet that HE didn’t call Wisconsin “Bushville”. His family must have been very divided about the 1957 series, being that his son was playing for the Yankees.

    Glen

    • Well, sort of or not really. I don’t really see the “scratch your back-I’ll scratch yours” in the Kubek situation. That would involve sacrifice from both sides. In Kubek’s case, he just happened to be from Milwaukee and happened to play for the Yankees. Incidentally, if you’re interested, the greatest game of his entire career or the one he cites as his most memorable – Game 3 of the 1957 World Series is available to watch in its entirety on youtube. Nice footage of Perini’s Woods in center field. Kubek hit two home runs that day at County Stadium. The Yankees blew out the Braves 12-3, but as you probably know, the Braves won the Series 4-3. And come to think of it, it was maybe a perfect scenario for his family because Kubek did well personally or he he did OK in the 57 series. He hit those two home runs and overall hit .286 but aha! the Braves won…..a win-win situation for his family. But then the following year, the lose-lose situation unfolded as Kubek hit crapola and to make matters even worse for his family, the Yankees beat the Braves in their rematch so i think Mom and dad preferred 1957, but Braves fans or some of them were super rude to Kubek’s family home in Bay View section of Milwaukee, throwing garbage on their lawn or at least that’s what his dad said – Tony Kubek Sr. who played for the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association. A real amazing team that spent 50 years in Milwaukee and you may or may not know this, but Bill Veeck owned that team for a few years and actually, they were about to play at County Stadium for the 1953 season when word came from Mr. Perini that the Braves were coming to town. The Brewers then packed up and moved to Toledo and became the Sox. But those Brewers in Milwaukee won a couple of junior world series and gave birth to Owgust – forerunner to Beer Barrel Man.

  3. Well, it’s interesting that the Brewers were going to play at County Stadium in 1953 (to replace Borchers Field). There probably could be a book written just about the controversy and politics over the building of County Stadium (which may or may not have been the first stadium that resorted to socialism, with taxpayers paying for its erection (pardon that word— should I have used “hard-on”?) This is especially ironic to me being that the state was represented by Senator Joseph McCarthy at the height of McCarthyism. Why did McCarthy keep his mouth shut on the building of County Stadium? Interesting, no?

    It’s also interesting in that Veeck’s St. Louis Browns wanted to play there starting in ’53, but the team that blocked it in the voting was Lou Perini’s Boston Braves. Another thing that’s interesting is that the Brewers (at least as of 1953) were owned by Perini’s Braves, and used as their Triple-A team. The Brewers got an offer from 100,000 dollars (but who was the source of the offer?) to move to another city in order to let the spanking new stadium be the new home of Bill Veeck’s Browns. Meanwhile, Veeck was denying (publicly, at least) that the Browns had any interest in moving to Milwaukee. So as late as March of ’53, the Brewers were going to be playing at County Stadium.

    Meanwhile, there was a big hassle among Brewers ticket-holders in April about refunds and such, because the Braves were doing so well. The newspapers said that Braves officials said that they weren’t prepared for this because there was so much apathy in Boston over the Braves.

    Steve, keep a look-out for your in-box (or your spam box, in case you have an over-zealous spam filter in your e-mail) as I am sending you two separate e-mails care of newspapers.com with articles about these very things.

    Glen

    • I have a friend who lives north of San Jose, California who grew up as a big Seals fan in the Pacific Coast League, which many people say was on a par with the National or American League. To this day, she HATES the San Francisco Giants because she resents that they took over her beloved Seals Stadium in 1958. I imagine she also hates the Los Angeles Dodgers; BOTH teams led to the downfall of the Pacific Coast League, which she really loves. When the Giants took over Seals Stadium and put the Seals out of business, she switched to other teams to root for, eventually settling on the Chicago Cubs. She still lives out there, but she’s a Cubs fan.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some old Brewers fans who sort of feel the same way about the Braves and now about the Brewers, as well! Although not to such a great extent, because the American Association was never regarded as the strong league that the Pacific Coast League was. The American Association was never even thought of as a competition for the National or American League (as far as I know, at least) the way that the Pacific Coast League was. The PCL was definitely a strong, strong league.

      Glen

      • ya know what gets me about that PCL? The number of games they played. Out of sight, sometimes upwards of 200 games per season. In fact, the Seals you mentioned Glen set the all time record in 1905 with 230 games. The weather of course plays a huge role in making seasons stronger or longer, but still, hard to imagine that kind of work ethic. Real impressive.

    • Thanks for the email articles Glen. It’s rare that any stadium is constructed without controversy. I guess the old saying – one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor -holds especially true when it comes to devoting public funds to sports venues.

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